Parental intimate partner homicide and its consequences for children: protocol for a population-based study
van de Putte, Elise
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Abstract Background The loss of a parent due to intimate partner homicide has a major impact on children. Professionals involved have to make far-reaching decisions regarding placement, guardianship, mental health care and contact with the perpetrating parent, without an evidence base to guide these decisions. We introduce a study protocol to a) systematically describe the demographics, circumstances, mental health and wellbeing of children bereaved by intimate partner homicide and b) build a predictive model of factors associated with children’s mental health and wellbeing after intimate partner homicide. Methods/Design This study focuses on children bereaved by parental intimate partner homicide in the Netherlands over a period of 20 years (1993 – 2012). It involves an incidence study to identify all Dutch intimate partner homicide cases between 1993 and 2012 by which children have been bereaved; systematic case reviews to describe the demographics, circumstances and care trajectories of these children; and a mixed-methods study to assess mental health, wellbeing, and experiences regarding decisions made and care provided. Discussion Clinical experience and initial research suggest that the children involved often need long-term intensive mental health and case management. The costs of these services are extensive and the stakes are high. This study lays the foundation for an international dataset and evidence-informed decision making.